In the late fall of 1877, an editorial correspondence ran in a newspaper that spoke about the writer’s “big” trip taken from the Midwest along the Texas Pacific Railway to visit Fort Worth. The date was July 5, 1877. It began with the following excerpt, “a visit to Fort Worth -The New Chicago of the Southwest – a lively and wonderful city …immense droves of cattle, buffalo hides by the thousands” and boasted it was a “splendid farming country.”
The journalist then described the pleasurable experience they’d had visiting during the young state’s Independence Day festivities. It mentions very little about the delicious spread of victuals that were probably shared with the visitors; however, it did casually note the refreshing lemonade, luscious watermelons and cold and creamy ice cream they tasted during their short stay.
Today we still can’t beat cooling off with one of Italy’s most precious and oldest exports. Although chilled desserts were commonly eaten in Turkish cities and in China where the T’ang dynasty frequently enjoyed a bowl of fermented milk, flour (as a thickening agent) and camphor frozen into a pungent after dinner treat. In the 1660s, juicy sorbets began to be crafted in Naples, Florence, Paris and Spain as a satisfying treat to enjoy on a beautiful day. A short time later in 1664 Naples was the first-time frozen ice was used to mix with sweetened milk to produce what is the oldest relative to the ice cream we enjoy today.
Fast forward a couple of centuries later, and an African American chef who served in the White House during the 1820s would come to be known as the “Father of Ice Cream” for his modern contributions to the ice cold creamy craft. No, not the often talked about Chef James Hemings, but Chef Augustus Jackson. Thanks to his inventive pioneering recipe development of opting for eggless custard bases (European techniques used eggs) and then adding salt into his mixtures to better control the freezing at lower temperatures, improve taste and helped maintain the temperatures for easier packaging and shipping.
Today while little has changed in terms of watermelon or lemonade flavors, we do have an abundance of delicious ice cream flavors in Tarrant County, ranging from traditional flavors to those creative concoctions with robust flavor profiles. July is National Ice Cream month, so here are three small and/or locally owned businesses to support.
La’Cremian is the super cute new ice cream parlor located near Sundance Square at 215 West 8th St. Though technically still in their “soft open” stage, the owners are excited to formally debut soon. “Indulge in the sweetest taste” is not only the tagline of the gourmet premium ice cream, but it truly personifies what the shop is – an indulgence and the sweetest taste. Pre-order and made-to-order small batch ultra-premium flavors are what you can expect here.
On the day that I visited, I met the owner, Lisa Jackson, who proudly showcased two of her decadent handmade flavors: one, a upgraded version of the classic cookie and cream, and the other was aptly named “After-School Snack” because of its bizarre yet chillingly addictive mix of assorted crushed cookies and potato chips. It is without a doubt one of the best ice creams I’ve ever eaten.
More flavors are available under the “signature flavors” tab found here. She also offers pastries, fresh-brewed drip coffee, lattes and chai tea. Follow the veteran-owned business on social media to keep up with hours of operation. @lacreamian
Mad Mike’s Ice Cream has a brand-new location in Hurst (420 Grapevine Hwy, #109), but its original nostalgic location is in Pantego and continues to serve up some delightful ice creams. The latter is an unassuming shop with all homemade ice creams and waffle cones. They have a spectacular array of 24 mouthwatering flavors such as my favorite strawberry cheesecake, or the close second, lemon crunch, a light and airy concoction that has an apparent fruity note but balanced with depths of other subtle flavors that help make this a harmonious bite. There is also a small snack shop conveniently located next door with candy and popcorn available. Stop by either of these locations. You will not be disappointed. The quality and creativity is obvious from the first taste.
Morgan’s Ice Cream is the delicious parlor owned by Dwell Coffee’s Jeff and Stephanie Brannon, located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Historic Southside. It offers some pretty spectacular selections with huge flavors. The sweet names range from “Honey, Not So Vanilla” to their top-seller, the decadent “Strawberry Magic” is indeed a charming well balanced mix of strawberry ice cream and ooey gooey buttercake pieces churned in. Admittedly, I fell in love. Yes, it really is that good. All during the month of July to celebrate “National Ice Cream Month’,’ the business is offering a plethora of hard-to-miss flavors that also include the sometimes hard-to-find vegan and gluten free offerings. The Dunkaroos will carry you right back to your childhood with flavors that are reminiscent of the classic child snack, cream cheese sprinkle dip ice cream with impressive, delicious house-made vanilla sugar cookies. This Tarrant County fav has two locations to serve you some of the best you’ve ever tasted in Fort Worth (321 S. Main St.) and Burleson (102 NW Renfro). Check out its seasonal hours and contact info at www.morgansicecream.com.